Full Disclosure: My Life on Facebook…Kind of a Lie

mylifeonfacebook.jpg

Truth be told: This is not what every bedtime looks like. :(

I’ve been thinking about this post for a while. Knowing that my life on facebook might not be an accurate depiction of, well, me. Ever since social media started, it’s kind of been about bragging about yourself. My first social media page was on MySpace. And it was an assault on your senses. My favorite song would blast as soon as you clicked on my page, you could read my mood based on the selected smiley face I chose and you could hear a lot of random crap about me that no one really cares about.

And, I have to admit, I kind of loved it. My closest friends would call me a bit narcissistic (I have discussed the origins of this in the past) and anything that’s “all about me!” is kind of exciting.

When everyone including my friends’ parents and grandparents started joining Facebook, social media took on whole new purpose. Instead of a place to share your “personal” thoughts and feelings, it became a great tool for stalking— er, I mean keeping in touch with people you have not seen in a long time or just don’t see as often as you would like to.

Now, people have enacted personal rules for using Facebook. We all know the repeat offenders–the ambiguous status, the complaining status, the controversy causing status, the politicky status, the public humiliation of random stranger in grocery store status. You’ve read them all. So, in learning from these hard to read statuses (statusi?), I have my own rules: no complaining about my husband, my kids or my job. Mostly because I know I am lucky to have all three of those things— but also because I don’t like having a public record of my discontent.

That being said, all bets are off when it comes to my contentedness! If I am having a good day, you are going to hear about it, see pictures of it and probably gag yourself when I do the before-bed-reflection status post, “Best. Day. Ever.” My ever-so-hilarious brother-in-law called me out on it when I called over there recently, “Bridgette, are you okay? You haven’t posted on Facebook in like 42 minutes?”

Touché.

Let me let you in on a little secret. Uhm, that’s all kind of a lie. Well, not a total lie. I mean, it’s my life but, it’s my life–airbrushed. Even though I might post a happy picture or witty status, I do not necessarily feel that way every day. Some days, I get mad, stomp my feet and maybe even shed a tear of frustration. I might be using Facebook to help pull me out of my bad mood or hard day. And what’s the best way to make yourself feel better when you’re feeling icky? Make everyone think you are feeling the opposite. Smoke and mirrors, people, smoke and mirrors.

Because, (un?)fortunately, Facebook is not life. It’s just a snippet, a Polaroid taken at just the right time and in the right lighting, an anecdote among a lifetime of stories. My life on Facebook is an extention of life but still sort of—an illusion. And my illusion is going to be good instead of bad. When a person once told me she thought my life was so great because of what she saw on Facebook, I was shocked and then kind of flattered. And soon following flattery was guilt. Did my life match up to what I put out? Not really. I didn’t realize the social value Facebook has accrued. It’s like automatic street cred. Credit that is not necessarily deserved.

It’s a powerful tool and you can use that in a multitude of ways. You can make it your bragging spot, your venting spot or your connection spot. Some people do all of those things at different times, some people do none of them. But, as my ever-so-wise husband has said, “People handle Facebook like they handle life.” And if I am making it a positive portrait of my sweet family (even if it is not 100% true day-to-day) then I think I am doing okay. I think that’s a good way to handle life: look for the positive things in it.

You’ll never see the yogurt crusted to my floor on Facebook, or the vacuum that I leave out permanently– because I cropped it out of the picture. You won’t see the picture where I have a double chin. You won’t see my child’s tantrums and time outs. You won’t see how I carried one, under my arm and dragged the other one by the hand into the house. You won’t see the dirty looks I got in Target. Because I won’t let you.

We have to realize that no person has an accurate “picture” in an online world. While I am thankful for the things that technology and social media provide me with (a “home,” an outlet), they are nothing compared to real, live face to face conversations about life and living with each other. When we have this conversation, you will hear about how our “outside” play lasted only 10 minutes, the cookie baking was actually a real pain in the ass, and my sleeping children? They are really just fighting off bad colds.

My advice is to consider this when you compare yourself to others via their Facebook updates. We compare ourselves to each other quite enough face to face. You really don’t have to be comparing your lazy Saturday to the ever so exciting and family centered Saturday happening across the country with your—very skinny now and has not aged a bit–old high school buddy. Instead? Use Facebook for good— for connection, for complimenting each other on the cuteness of our kids and for sharing exciting news. And, in times of crisis and loss, a method of support. Because, you are more than the profile you have created on Facebook— you are a real, living, breathing un-airbrushed REAL friend. And I’m sure a lot of people would like to tell you that face to face instead of just letting you see the writing on your wall (Pardon the bad attempt at a pun here).

Connect, don’t compare. Accentuate the positive, don’t give words to the other stuff. Because in real life, you don’t need to share the every day of the good things in your life with the world– because the people that need to know are right there experiencing it with you.

Comments

  1. Great post!!

  2. Beautiful!

  3. Love IT!!! So well said! I think you are perfect!

  4. Enjoyed your post. I enjoy Facebook to stay in touch with family out of town etc, and don’t take it serious. I do find it can be very negative at times and don’t take part in any of it. I like it to be happy.

  5. catwerle1 says:

    Its like you are the voice I’m searching for, not the one I always hear. Nicely put, thanks for giving me-us-a reminder about what is real or not.

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